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Wage-and-hour litigation cases on the rise

California workers may be interested to know about some recent research which revealed that many employment law cases are taking a specific route. Wage and hour cases, which relate to the classification of workers and the loss of wages due to that misclassification, unpaid overtime or other issues involving pay are becoming more common. The Wall Street Journal cited data claiming that these types of cases increased 10 percent in 2013 over 2012 numbers.

In terms of discrimination cases, the article noted that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought in more money for plaintiffs in 2013 than in any other year since the agency was created. California was specifically mentioned in the article due to its large population and the prevalence of worker-friendly legislation.

Whistleblowing cases were also discussed in the article due to the increased use of social media by employees and the provisions of laws specifically aimed to protect workers who expose corruption or misdeeds in the workplace.

Many employees who are noticing discrepancies in their pay may not realize that there are legal options to pursue against their employer. Unpaid overtime and issues of 'clocking' in or out for certain tasks or meal breaks are common 'wage and hour' cases. Also, the classification of workers as 'contractors,' a status which does not provide the benefits of full-time workers, is becoming more common, but may not be clear to the employees affected. Though these cases may seem small, it is important for employees to protect themselves, as most businesses have extensive legal teams to protect them.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Law 2014: Within Employment Discrimination, It’s a Wage-and-Hour World" Ashby Jones, Dec. 30, 2013

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